Oregon Health & Sciences University official supports Portland-area policy; Governor Kate Brown does not

TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO - OHSU would support Portland-area residents being ordered to stay in their homes except for non-essential trips, to limit the spread of coronavirus. The governor's office does not support the move.Dr. Renee Edwards, chief medical office for Oregon Health & Sciences University said Wednesday that the university supports ordering Portland-area residents to stay in their homes and "shelter in place."

The question was put to Edward and the state's top public health official, Dean Sidelinger, in a joint press briefing Wednesday evening, March 18.

Sidelinger said the state does not support it "right now." But Edwards responded that while it is not a decision to be taken lightly, the university thinks it's a good idea and would support such a move by Gov. Kate Brown.

"We would be supportive of that measure if the governor chose to move in that direction, because facing the type of surge in need for hospital capacity, including ICU beds and ventilators. We want to make sure that we will be able to deliver upon the care that the citizens of Oregon need and facing this concern. We would absolutely be supportive if the governor's office made this determination."

Similar orders have been issued by governors in Nevada and Pennsylvania.

Sidelinger's response, that the Brown administration does not support such a move, echoed the response a Brown spokesman provided Wednesday morning when asked her policy by The Portland Tribune: "This is a rapidly-evolving public health crisis and we are constantly evaluating the situation as it develops and assessing what additional measures may be necessary," was the response.

The idea is under consideration by Mayor Ted Wheeler, Willamette Week reported Wednesday.

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